The Dating Game

Jim Lange, the host of the 60’s and 70’s hit TV show The Dating Game, died this past week. In an era when women were expected to wait for men to ask them out, The Dating Game was seen as progressive and even a bit risqu?. Each week a woman would question three members of the opposite sex hidden from her view but visible to the audience. Based on how wisely and engagingly (and how gently racy) they responded, she would decide which one would be the best date. The couple would......

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Video: Son of God and an Audience of Nones

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: With the release of the movie Son of God this weekend, we reflect on the current popularity of faith and Bible-related movies and TV programs in the context of the rise of the “nones.” Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore a wise range of issues including peace, tolerance, social justice and the environment.? Visit Odyssey Networks at www.odysseynetworks.org....

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What It Means to Be Cool

Over the next seven months, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in an exhibit called “American Cool” is showing 100 photographs of people who defined cool in American culture, from the “granddaddies of cool,” Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass, through the generations, leading to Jay-Z, Johnny Depp and Madonna. I am semi-embarrassed to say, but I always feel it a supreme compliment when people call me a “cool” rabbi. It’s meant having some mysterious mix of rebelliousness, openness to new ideas, charisma with being a bit wild, anti-authority and out front, but in......

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Why (Not!) Take Your Soul to a Spa?

Sometimes clergy and other spiritual teachers do smart things. And sometimes they do less-than-smart things (I’m trying to be charitable here). But sometimes they just annoy the hell out of me. In this news report about “spas for the soul,” we get an example of all three! Read on to see what I mean. You may be asking, what is a “spa for the soul”? Is it simply a cool name for a church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Or is it a place with massages and treatments that are so good, you......

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The Winners and Losers

In the last Week in Wisdom I invited readers to compare two reactions to the unprecedented tie for the gold medal in the women’s downhill between Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland. When Maze completed her run, Gisin came out of the leader’s box and into the finish area to give her a hug and was quoted as saying, “I’m sure glad I’m going to share this gold with Tina, she’s such a great woman and one of the greatest athletes of our sport.” Maze responded, “We will be......

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Video: Is the Affluenza Defense Moral?

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: Brad Hirschfield shares his thoughts on the Affluenza defense, the defense used by a teenager in Texas after killing four people in a drunk-driving crash. The defense worked but was it moral? Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore a wise range of issues including peace, tolerance, social justice and the environment.? Visit Odyssey Networks at www.odysseynetworks.org....

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A Reality Check: How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to the bad stuff in life, answering the question of “how much is too much” seems pretty simple – “any” is too much! But what about the good stuff? How much is too much of that? I leave it to you to define “good stuff” for yourself. It may be happiness, success, love, faith, income. There are probably as many good answers as there are people who answer. So, how much is too much of that? Is it possible to have too much of the “good stuff”? Yes! The......

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The Delusion of The Triple Package

It takes just a few hours to read “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and her husband, fellow Yale law professor, Jed Rubenfeld’s new book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. And it takes even less time to realize the wisdom in this book isn’t in its ideas but in understanding why such ideas resonate and the harm they do to us personally and collectively. The thesis of this book is simple. There are three (that’s right, three) psychological characteristics shared by all......

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Do Babies Have a Moral Compass?

Is it possible that some babies are more moral than others? That babies are born with an innate moral inclination? That morality is biologically encoded and not learned over time? The short answers are: yes, apparently so, and let’s not get carried away. The new study which addresses these specific questions should interest anyone with kids, or anyone interested in how we help create a more decent world. After all, the future of our world depends largely on how humane and moral we are or can be. In fact, the study and......

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In Praise of 'Into The Woods' Composer Stephen Sondheim

Earlier this year, Frank Rich wrote an insightful and heartfelt piece in New York Magazine on the extraordinary American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Since his Broadway debut at age 27, as the lyricist for Leonard Bernstein’s score to West Side Story (that’s a debut!), Sondheim has redefined musical theatre over a course of six decades, writing the groundbreaking scores for Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods – works that have earned him every prize an American artist can win.......

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